Robert Johnston

Project Director

Robert Johnston is a veteran communication strategist and writer/editor with more than 20 years of experience in journalism and communications. At The Hatcher Group, Robert manages several P-12 and higher education projects. He works with nonprofit education partners to build strategic communication plans, lead media outreach, and implement all facets of communications to raise the profile of their efforts to support student performance in under-achieving schools and communities, and inform national and state policy.

He oversees the release and promotion of the annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward public education and research by the Center on Education Policy. Robert works with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity to support educator preparation programs. He also collaborates with the Lumina Foundation and Public Agenda to raise awareness about competency-based education. Robert has drawn from his deep knowledge of education to develop and implement tailored campaign strategies and create new materials for the National Assessment Governing Board, Wallace Foundation, Citi Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI360, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the Council of the Great City Schools.

Robert worked for 12 years at Education Week, where he was an award-winning reporter covering federal and state policy, education finance, and urban education before becoming the assistant managing editor. He has worked for newspapers in California, Nevada, and Virginia.

A former Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, Robert speaks Spanish and has reported on education in Cuba and Honduras. He studied communications and elementary education at Lewis & Clark College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife and three children. He still mountain bikes, runs and is always on the lookout for a new hiking trail.


  • Getting creative to find tailored solutions to unique challenges
  • Discovering great stories that are waiting to be told
  • Working with the right people, ideas and opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of young people
  • Exploring new possibilities in all aspects of life and work

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